Saturday, July 6, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Phoenix FC got a much-needed victory on Saturday night as they defeated Antigua Barracuda FC 1-0 thanks to a goal from Diego Faria in the 34th minute and some good defending.
The Wolves, trying to stay alive for a playoff spot in USL PRO and in need of three points from wins in their remaining matches, bid goodbye to a 12-match winless streak that included five draws. Phoenix FC’s last win was April 28 when they took a 3-1 victory against the Wilmington Hammerheads at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.
Faria’s goal was his third of the season, tying him for most goals on the team in league play with Donny Toia. The goal came on a header, as Faria was found by a chipped pass from Anthony Obodai from the top-right corner of the penalty area as he snuck in at the left post for the finish. It was Phoenix FC’s first lead in a match since May 11 at Dayton, and first lead at home since a 1-0 advantage in the first half against Pittsburgh in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw on May 3.
The Wolves had more chances to add goals. Tommy Ramos had a great look for a diving header in the 18th minute that hit the post and caromed away. In the 51st minute, Donny Toia tried a shot from distance with his outside foot that missed high. He also missed with a rocket from long distance in the 66th minute as the Wolves dominated most of the attacking play.
The 78th minute saw starting goalkeeper Sheldon Parkinson leave the match due to injury, replaced by Humberto Soriano. Playing in his first match of the season, Soriano got tested right away as Barracudas midfielder Tamorley Thomas made a run and fired a low shot on net, the ball sliding past the far post and out of play in the 80th minute.
The Wolves would hold on to take victory, however, as Cyprian Hedrick led another strong defensive effort. The Wolves now have four shutouts in their last five matches.
"The group kept focus and for this game, we definitely had to respect the opponent," Faria said. "That’s what helped us win this game. We could have had more goals but first it starts with one."
Phoenix FC is now 3-10-6 and has 15 standings points. It hosts Antigua again on Thursday, July 11 at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix at 7:30 p.m. local time.